Andy Murray: The story of Britain's number one

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Over the last few years, Britain has been blessed in the sports department with some wonderful performances and moments, whether it be from our Olympians in Beijing and London or from our cyclists such as Bradley Wiggins.

It shows how successful 2012 was that we can class this year as a bit of a disappointment even when we have once again had some fantastic results such as Chris Froome at the Tour de France and the England Cricket team winning the Ashes during the summer.

There has been one man who has stood out, however. His name is Andy Murray.

The Scot first burst onto onto the scene in 2005 when he competed for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament, Wimbledon. Britain's number one tennis star Tim Henman was approaching the end of his career and, although he had come so close on several occasions, he had never been able to secure that major title that the British public had been yearning for since Fred Perry had last done so 69 years earlier.

The nation needed a new star and Murray was the big hope.

Watching him at those Championships was our first glimpse of what was at the time a very rough diamond.

He managed to beat 14th seed Radek Stepanek in straight sets before eventually succumbing in five sets to David Nalbandian having been two sets to love up. There was something special about him, and it was plain for all to see.

From there his career went from strength to strength. We didn't just have a top 20 player on our hands here, another very good player who would always be at the back end of tournaments without ever managing to take the top prize. This youngster from Dunblane could actually be the best in the world and end the public's wait.

He had problems though, of course; journeys these shores are seldom easy. His attitude on the court was widely criticised as negative and childish. His fitness regularly showed itself to be lacking somewhat.

Also, his relation with the public was not as good as it should bearing in mind what he was capable of due to some comments, although admittedly taken out of proportion, that he probably regrets.

But here was a player with a will and a desire to make it to the top. He worked on his attitude, managing to almost totally stop negativity affecting his play.

In pre-season, he started working hours on end to attain the highest level fitness possible, as well as slowly working on his interview technique and it all seemed to work.

Slowly but surely, he worked his way up the rankings, and became an increasingly dangerous opponent for anyone on the circuit. 

The trophies weren't far around the corner too and,  with each one, the expectation increased.

In 2008, he reached his first grand slam final at the U.S Open. He lost in three sets to Roger Federer, but there was no shame in that, and although there was obvious disappointment, he had still had plenty of time to shine.

He carried on winning the Masters events and it seemed only a matter of time.

And yet, although it seemed inevitable that he would win a Grand Slam, there was a part of us that felt he would always be the nearly man.

He made a further three Grand Slam finals but lost them all.

The last of those three was at last year's Wimbledon final, where he lost to Roger Federer in four sets.

There were tears from everyone, but most notably from the man himself.

His post match speech was touching and honest, and it was the first time anyone had seem him in such a way. It showed just how much it meant to him and, such was the pressure of the nation to win a Grand Slam, he obviously felt that he had let Britain down. 

That would have broken many a player, but not Murray.

He was made of sterner stuff. He had a chance to bounce back at the Olympics a month later and that is exactly what he did.

He made his way through the draw, but it was the final, on the same court against the same man to which he had lost the title, that was most impressive. Instead of succumbing to his demons, he produced a quite extraordinary display, making Federer look mediocre at best.

The U.S Open was next up, and it was felt that this was Murray's greatest chance of a grand slam win.

As was almost becoming the norm, he made it to the final, where he faced Novak Djokovic, long-time friend but on court nemesis. He stormed into a 2-0 set lead, but Murray is a true brit, nothing is ever easy.

A rallying Djokovic levelled it up, before Murray took control once again in the fifth. And so it was, that just after 8 o'clock on Monday 10th September 2012, the wait was finally over. Britain had a Grand Slam champion.

Yet, even after this wonderful triumph, there was still something missing. Murray had the unenviable predicament of being from a nation that played host to it's very own Grand Slam tournament and that was what the public wanted most, a Wimbledon Champion. The pressure he was therefore under was immense and it wouldn't go away until he did.

And so came around 2013. He was defeated by Djokovic in an epic final but little did we know, there was far more to come. Injury saw him miss the French Open, but after a lot of nail-biting and waiting, it was confirmed that he would be fit for Wimbledon. 

As had been the case so many times before, he found his way through the rounds, although scares were never two far away.

At two sets to love down against Fernando Verdasco in the quarters, it seemed that we would be kept waiting once again. But our man turned it around, like he had done so several times before, and managed to come through. A 4 set win in the semis saw him into the final, where that pesky Serb was waiting once again.

Murray's performance was exhilarating. Some people have said that Djokovic was not at the top of the game, but the only reason is because the Brit would not let him. After just over three hours, Murray found himself with three championship points.

Easy surely? Not a chance. They came and went and it looked like the Scot was going to do what all of us were afraid of - he was going to choke. 

However, this time the ending was the compete opposite. Andy Murray pulled through to become Wimbledon Champion, 77 years after Fred Perry had been the last man to do so. Eight years after his first Grand Slam appearance, he had finally done it. The wait was over.

He had come so far from that fresh faced youngster in 2005. It hadn't been easy, but it was never going to be. This is the story of a man who never gave up, who always believed.

This is the story of Andy Murray and it's not finished yet.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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